We seem to be obsessed with the concept of rights in this country. That’s not a bad thing. We should be concerned about rights. Everyone’s rights. We hear, not about individual rights, but rights about this group or that group. Okay. But when was the last time the group being discussed was gifted kids? When was the last time you heard anyone talk about the rights of gifted kids? Okay, I get that gifted kids aren’t a protected class, and so don’t “deserve” any special consideration, but considering the myths and stereotypes negatively affecting our kids, maybe it’s time to consider a Bill of Rights for our gifted kids.
Fifteen years ago, Melissa Lingen came up with a great Gifted Kids Bill of Rights. It is no less relevant today than it was 15 years ago. Here are the rights:
- I have the right to challenge myself
- I have the right not to have other people interfere with my learning
- I have the right not to be physically or mentally abused for being gifted
- I have the right to be looked at as a human being
- I have the right to make mistakes
- I have the right to ask for help
- I have the right to be my age
- I have the right not to be forced into your notions of childhood
- I have the right to an advocate
- I have the right to some privacy
Take a close look at those rights. Which of them would we not want to apply to ALL children? Why is it that we would hae to specify those rights for gifted kids? If you’re the parent of a gifted child, you know why. If you aren’t sure, I did take the time to explain each of those rights in a little piece I wrote elaborating on Melissa’s list.
For example, gifted kids are often held back from learning in order to give the other kids a chance to catch up. Worse than that, sometimes they aren’t even allowed to pursue their interests on their own. They must first “prove” they have “mastered” the content being taught, even though it’s obvious enough that they have mastered it. How do we know they’ve mastered it? That’s related to the second right. If a teacher thinks that a gifted child knows the material well enough to tutor the other kids in class, then the child has sufficiently mastered the material and should be allowed to move on to more challenging work.
I’m pretty sure the other rights are pretty clear, even without further explanations. The 8th right, for instance, simply means that if a gifted 3rd grader wants to explore quantum mechanics, he should be encouraged. His parents should not be accused of depriving the child of his childhood.
At some point, it sure would be nice to see that people believe gifted kids aren’t privileged kids, but kids who deserve no less than other children do.http://giftsforlearning.com/wp/we-need-a-bill-of-rights-for-gifted-kids/http://giftsforlearning.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Bill-of-Rights-2032137_s.jpghttp://giftsforlearning.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Bill-of-Rights-2032137_s-150x150.jpgEducationRants and Responses